No division in the NBA is currently more tightly contested at the top than the Northwest, where the 23-5 Trail Blazers sit a half-game ahead of the 22-5 Thunder. A win by Oklahoma City tomorrow at Madison Square Garden would pull the team even with Portland, and would ensure that the Northwest co-leaders share the league’s best record with the Pacers. As we look forward to that contest and other Christmas Day action, let’s round up the latest out of the Northwest….
- Grantland’s Zach Lowe unveils his Western Conference power rankings, noting that opposing teams are keeping an eye on what the Nuggets want to do on the trade market.
- Lowe also figures the Clippers will upgrade their big man rotation at some point and writes that while the Thunder have what it takes to upgrade via trade, Oklahoma City has been “picky” about what moves it’s willing to make.
- Gordon Hayward‘s camp never asked for a max deal during failed extension negotiations with the Jazz this fall, Jody Genessy notes via Twitter.
- As Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune writes, not receiving much attention with the Jazz is nothing new for Ian Clark, who was also passed over by bigger college programs and didn’t hear his name called on draft night. Clark will have to remain on Utah’s roster beyond January 7th if he hopes to be guaranteed of his full-season salary for 2013/14.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.